Kathleen Amaya and Raffaele Centofanti’s Rose to Gold is on track to make her race return in the Grade III My Charmer Handicap at Calder Casino & Race Course on Saturday, December 7, after spending much of the year in rehabilitation and training off of surgery for bone chips.
The multiple-graded stakes winning filly, who has been based at Calder since the beginning of her career with trainer Sal Santoro, has not run since finishing eighth in the 1 1/8-mile Grade I Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs on May 3 after bumping horses out of the gate. The morning after the race, her right front ankle was swollen and a fresh bone chip was found upon being X-rayed. After more X-rays were taken on her left front ankle and both knees, more old bone chips were found.
The 3-year-old had surgery on May 5 at Lexington Equine to remove the bone chips, then went to WinStar Farm in Kentucky for rehabilitation with Richard Budge overseeing her recovery.
“She was getting turned out at night in a private paddock and they gave her a pony to keep her company. Then every day she was going on an underwater treadmill, and she loved it,” said Santoro.
Rose to Gold returned to training with Santoro in July after beginning to gallop again at WinStar, and has been galloping and breezing at Calder ever since. According to Santoro, the filly is training just as she did prior to the surgery.
“She has always been very, very aggressive in the mornings, and she is not training any different than she did prior to getting hurt,” said Santoro. “The vet told me with all (the bone chips) floating around, the horse must have an incredible tolerance for pain because it has to hurt. He said for her to run the way she does, I would not have any problems with bringing her back. He said just give her the time, bring her back, and start from square one, and that is basically what we did with her.”
Jockey Jesus Rios was aboard Rose to Gold for her most recent workout in preparation for the My Charmer, which came on Monday morning. Rios, who was aboard Rose to Gold in her first three career races, is set to be back aboard the filly for the My Charmer.
“It’s right exactly where I want her to be,” said Santoro. “She worked a mile for us in 1:41 under a hold, but the more important thing was the way she galloped out towards the three-eighths (pole). We were pleased with the work this morning.”
The My Charmer is scheduled to be run over 1 1/8 mile on the turf and will be the first turf appearance for Rose to Gold in her career. Santoro said there are two reasons why the My Charmer was chosen for Rose to Gold’s return to the races.
“It is her home track, she is in familiar surroundings She doesn’t get rattled at all, but I just figured (the turf) would be better for her on her first race back,” said Santoro. “I have been dying to try this horse on the grass, but when we were chasing the points for the Oaks, everything had to be to get the points. That is why we went to Arkansas and all of that. Now we are not under those restraints anymore so we will see how she does.”
Rose to Gold is 2-for-2 at Calder after impressive performances. She broke her maiden first-time-out in a stakes race as a 2-year-old with a dominating 13-length victory in the 1-mile Lindsay Frolic Stakes at Calder last August. She returned to earn her second-straight stakes victory with a 13 ½-length win in the 1 mile and 70 yard Brave Raj Stakes last September. From there, Rose to Gold ventured to Keeneland Race Course for the 1 1/16-mile Alcibiades Stakes, where she finished twelfth. She then earned her first graded stakes victory in the 1-mile Grade III Delta Downs Princess Stakes at Delta Downs last November to close out her 2-year-old season.
She made her first start as a 3-year-old in the 1-mile Martha Washington Stakes at Oaklawn Park in February with a second place finish. She returned to the winner’s circle for back-to-back Grade III scores at Oaklawn: first in the 1 1/16-mile Grade III Honeybee Stakes in March and then in the 1 1/16-mile Grade III Fantasy Stakes in April in her last races prior to the Oaks.
As for the plans for Rose to Gold after the My Charmer, Santoro said a light 4-year-old season in 2014 will be followed by Rose to Gold’s retirement to become a broodmare on her owner’s farm in Citra, Florida.